Beirut (AP) – Lebanon’s two major power plants have been forced to shut down after running out of gas, state-owned electricity company said on Saturday.
Lebanon is battling the worst energy crisis as it relies on oil imports. Miscellaneous power supplies have put hospitals and essential services in jeopardy. The Lebanese are unusually dependent on private operators struggling to maintain supply in the midst of the national currency’s collapse.
The shortage of diesel and oil, along with ancient infrastructure, has exacerbated years of power outages. Suggestions that used to last three to six hours can now leave entire areas with less than two hours of government power per day.
On Saturday, the state-owned power company was forced to shut down the Zahrai power plant in the south of the country due to fuel shortages. The main plant in the north closed on Thursday.
According to De Liban, the shutdown will reduce the total power supply to less than 270 megawatts, which is a major setback in grid stability. He said he would see if they could buy enough fuel to power the northern and southern oil fields. New oil shipments from Iraq are also expected next week.
However, the company, which is responsible for most of the government’s debt, is dependent on loans from the country’s declining central bank.
While the central bank subsidizes imports, the government has gradually raised oil and diesel prices, adding to a three-quarters increase in poverty in Lebanon last year.
With rising prices and rising unemployment, many households have abandoned private generators and access government power for a few hours a day.
On Saturday, distributors of gas canals used for cooking and heating stopped working, meaning subsidy reductions in the black market exchange rate could be sold at a loss.
The energy sector has been a major drain on government coffers for decades.
The power company has annual losses of up to $ 1.5 billion and has paid more than $ 40 billion over the past decade. Energy sector reforms remain a key issue for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
To help alleviate the crisis, Lebanon has received oil shipments from Iran via Syria. Iraq has also signed a deal with the Lebanese state-owned power company, which has helped keep it afloat for days.
Lebanon’s new government is also negotiating with Jordan for electricity and natural gas from Egypt. But these agreements can take months.
Lebanese Electricity Minister Walid Fiyad told the Associated Press that the new closures would leave his government “in crisis for two days.” He said the government would turn to the military for emergency supplies while we wait. Oil deal with Iraq and exchange.